Washington – A retired New York police officer was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for attacking the U.S. Capitol and using a metal pole to assault one of the officers trying to control a mob of Donald Trump supporters.
The sentence of Thomas Webster, 56, is the longest so far among the almost 250 people who have been sentenced for their actions during the uprising of January 6, 2021. Other long sentences had been seven years and three months from jail
Webster, a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department, was the first participant in the Capitol riot to be charged with assault and the first to present a self-defense argument. A jury rejected Webster’s claims that he was defending himself by taking down Metropolitan Police Department officer Noah Rathbun and taking his gas mask on the day of the insurrection.RELATED
Federal Judge Amit Mehta sentenced Webster to 10 years in prison and another three years of supervised release. He allowed the defendant to report to jail on a date to be determined instead of ordering his immediate arrest.
“Mr. Webster, I don’t think you are a bad person,” the judge said. “I think he got carried away for the moment. But, as you well know, even letting go of the moment has consequences.”
Webster turned to apologize to Rathbun, who was present in court but did not address the judge. Webster said he wishes he had never come to Washington DC
“I wish the horrible events of that day had never happened,” he told the judge.
The judge noted that Rathbun was not Webster’s only victim on Jan. 6.
“The other casualty was democracy, and that is something that cannot be taken lightly,” Mehta added.
The prosecution had recommended a sentence of 17 years and six months in prison.
In a court filing, prosecutors accused Webster of “dishonoring a democracy he once honorably fought to serve and protect.” Webster led the charge against police barricades in the Capitol’s west plaza. Prosecutors likened the attack to a medieval battle in which protesters hurled improvised projectiles and engaged in hand-to-hand combat with officers.
“There is nothing that can explain or justify Mr. Webster’s anger. There is nothing that can explain or justify his violence,” Assistant District Attorney Hava Mirell said.
Defense attorney James Monroe claimed in a court filing that the mob was “led by unscrupulous politicians” and others who promoted the lie that Trump was stolen from the 2020 presidential election. He wondered why prosecutors they argued that Webster did not deserve leniency for his 25 years of service to his country and New York City
“This is not how we measure fairness. This is payback,” she stated.
Monroe retired from the New York Police Department in 2011 after 20 years of service, including being part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s security detail. He was a member of the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989.